Easy Ways to Capture and Share Colors

Being able to create and use the same colors throughout the Adobe apps is one of the many benefits to having a suite of sibling apps that play nicely together. But where do these color groups and themes come from and how do they move from app to app? Let’s look at a few options.

1. Use Adobe Color CC to Create Themes

Adobe’s Color CC mobile app for iOS and Android looks at the colors in an image and creates a 5-color theme based on prominent colors in that image. The app lets you load an existing image from your device’s camera roll or a Creative Cloud document, or you can take a photo. The app suggests a set of colors, but you can select and modify that set until you find a combination that suits you. When you’re satisfied with the color, save out to one of your CC Libraries.

Using the Color CC mobile app to create a theme from an existing photo.

Using the Color CC mobile app to create a theme from an existing photo.

2. Use the InDesign Color Theme Tool

Create color themes from within your InDesign documents using the Color Theme tool. Activate the tool, then click inside a placed image, or drag across images and other objects to create your theme. You can then add the theme to your Swatches panel as a color group or choose to add the theme to your current CC Library (I find it’s handy to have the CC Libraries panel open so I know what my current library is).

The Color Theme tool in InDesign creates themes from placed images and objects.

The Color Theme tool in InDesign creates themes from placed images and objects.

3. Use the Adobe Color CC Website

Head over to the Adobe Color CC website, where you can access color themes you’ve created and saved to a library. If you’re looking for new themes and inspiration, click on the Explore option which displays all users’ public themes. You can either scroll through the list or enter a search term—like “tropical” or “Chicago”—to browse through sets of color themes. When you find one you like, you can edit a copy and/or save the theme to your own library. If you need to share your theme with anyone else, you can copy and email the link.

Search results for "desert" themes on the Adobe Color CC website.

Search results for “desert” themes on the Adobe Color CC website.

4. Share Document Files

In InDesign and Illustrator, you can access swatches from within documents created in those apps. For instance you might want to maintain sample files with colors you like, or have a graphic standards file with all the client’s colors already defined. To use the colors contained in these files in a new file, you’ll need to head to the Swatches panel menu in either app. In InDesign, choose Load Swatches and navigate to the sample file. In Illustrator, choose Open Swatch Library, then Other Library, then navigate to the sample file. Save these sample files in the client’s folder or share them with your teammates.

5. Save and Share .ase Files

You can create a custom portable file of swatches—for use across the Adobe apps—called an Adobe Swatch Exchange file, or .ase file. In Photoshop, choose Save Swatches for Exchange and in Illustrator choose Save Swatch Library as ASE. In each of these cases, the .ase file will contain every color in the Swatches library. InDesign lets you select individual swatches—if desired—and save the .ase using the Save Swatches command from the Swatches panel.

Saving out an .ase file containing the three selected InDesign swatches.

Saving out an .ase file containing the three selected InDesign swatches.

6. Create and Save to CC Libraries

If you’re using Creative Cloud, the quickest and easiest way to save and share colors for your own use is by using CC Libraries. We’ve seen that many of the capture options let you save to a library, making those items available right within Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Also, when working within these apps, whenever you select a color (or create a new one), you have the option of adding that color directly to a CC library, making the process of working within the apps that much more seamless.

The CC Libraries panel in InDesign, displaying themes I've added to my library.

The CC Libraries panel in InDesign, displaying themes I’ve added to my library.

Tags
Posted on: August 18, 2015

Erica Gamet

Erica Gamet has been involved in the graphics industry for an unbelievable 30 years! She is a speaker, writer, and trainer, focusing on Adobe InDesign and Illustrator, Apple Keynote and iBooks Author, and other print- and production-related topics. She is a regular presence at CreativePro Week’s PePcon and InDesign Conferences, and has spoken at ebookcraft in Canada and Making Design in Norway. You can find Erica’s online tutorials at CreativeLive and through her YouTube channel. When she isn’t at her computer, she can be found exploring her new homebase of Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

5 Comments on Easy Ways to Capture and Share Colors

  1. Is Adobe Kuler still a thing? I seem to have lost track of that site.

  2. Not everyone is paying for CC. Is there anything for those of us who do not want to rent a program?

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Easy Ways to Capture and Share Colors | Kafui Afenyo :: Graphic Design | Web Design | Photography

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*